Medicine: Eastern or Western, Conventional or Complementary?

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By Catriona Valenta

img_0437-jpg_lucid_1Let me declare a conflict of interest. My career as a provider of Western medicine has greatly influenced me, and I have never chosen complementary medicine myself, nor have I recommended it to my patients.  And 38 years of membership of a spiritual organization has not left me unaffected. I have long been fascinated by the sometimes fine line between science, spirituality and superstition.

It is undeniable that there has been an enormous surge of interest in “alternative medicine,” and with the ageing of our own UC baby boomers, many of us have friends who may be tackling serious illness with non-conventional treatments.

What did Reverend Moon mean when in his 1987 speech to health care professionals in our movement he said we need a careful blending of the Eastern concept of medicine (what is already being done in the Orient) with Western medicine?

I offer my answers to the following questions:

  • What is the “Eastern concept” of medicine? How can we define Eastern and Western medicine? Is it a purely geographical distinction? Where does alternative medicine fit in?
  • What can the different approaches contribute to make a system of health care that is holistic, principled and ethical?
  • How can we make informed and balanced decisions and as health care professionals help our patients to do the same? What sources of information are trustworthy?
  • Why do so many people shun Western medicine and chose alternative therapies?

Definitions

“Western medicine” is a system based on science, and is “evidence-based.” Many cringe at this term, but can one criticize the wisdom of “the judicious use of best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients?”

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The Science of Spiritual Life and Death

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By James M. Powell

jamesmpowell72dpi-jpg_lucidThe Principle text claims it contains truth that is of a higher and richer content than previous similar works, and that it has a more scientific method of expression.

However, much of its content, specifically concerning life in the spirit world and how we relate with it from our positions here on the earth, is left unresolved and unexplained with regard to science.

One such topic that we find without a scientific explanation is that of the grace of spiritual resurrection. What is the science of resurrection? How does a person die spiritually and subsequently be resurrected? What is the actual process of spiritual death and spiritual rebirth?

The main reason people who have been spiritually resurrected believe they have been spiritually resurrected is because they felt it happen. Such resurrected are 100% sure they’ve been spiritually reborn even though they can’t scientifically explain it.

Here is the problem. A feeling or belief does not provide the modern scientifically trained and inquisitive mind with a satisfying or reasonable justification to believe that the proposed invisible spiritual resurrection is plausible.

What if someone you know sincerely asks you to explain how spiritual resurrection actually happens and they want to hear more than to just be told to believe and it will happen?

What if they genuinely want, and all they need, is a common sense understanding of this phenomenon in order to calm their doubting or questioning intellect before they make the step to believe? After all, it is noted in the Principle that without first understanding, beliefs do not take hold.

People are no longer happy to blindly believe nor should they need to.

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A Solution to Global Warming and Clean Energy Needs

By Jim Dougherty

Jim DoughertyToday, global warming is both a threat to our shared human environment, and, if responded to wisely, it is an opportunity to improve living conditions for people worldwide.

Over the last 250 years, the average global temperature has increased approximately 1.5 degrees Celsius. This average incremental increase in temperature corresponds almost exactly to the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas of concern, because it is emitted on such a huge scale by modern industrial civilization.

To put this in what is perhaps an unfortunate perspective, the planet-wide impact of human-caused global warming is estimated to be the equivalent of detonating about 400,000 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs each day or 4.6 atomic bombs per second.

That heat has to go somewhere, and scientists don’t fully understand how the earth is dealing with all the extra heat. Global temperature will continue to increase if nothing is done — but it’s hard to predict how bad or what the consequences will be.

The key is not the problem but the solutions — none of the ones being proposed currently have any realistic chance of succeeding.

Despite 40 years of concerted effort, conventional clean energy technologies, while making impressive gains, do not yet have the capacity or efficiency to fully address global warming and energy needs worldwide.

In the United States, renewable energy sources account for 11.09% of U.S. energy consumption. Half of the renewables include biomass (organic) (5.5%) which is not emissions free. The remainder is made up of hydroelectric (2.83%), wind (1.98%), solar (.48%), and geothermal (.25%).

Under the best case scenario, solar would add 1% capacity per year and is still expensive at around 21 cents per kilowatt-hour. Though falling, its cost far exceeds that of natural gas which has a cost of around 5.7 cents per kilowatt hour.

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Immortality: Reconsidering Unification Teaching on Eternal Life

By Jack LaValley

Jack LaValleyDivine Principle (DP) teaches all human beings are created to live forever in an invisible spirit world with God. In this article, I review Unification teaching on eternal life and suggest ways to improve it. This is important because the DP view of spiritual realities and how we can know about them is based on metaphysical assumptions no longer tenable in the modern/postmodern world. I make the case DP teaching on eternal life needs to be updated and offer points to consider to start this process.

Unification teaching demands no empirical evidence to verify its truth claims about eternal life. DP assumes when we die the same individual personality from earthly life continues in the spirit world:

“Our spirit self, or spirit, is a substantial yet incorporeal reality which can be apprehended only through the spiritual senses.  It is the subject partner to our physical self.  Our spirit can communicate directly with God and is meant to govern the incorporeal world, including the angels. In appearance, our spirit self matches our physical self.  After we shed the physical self, we enter the spirit world and live there for eternity (DP, p. 48).”

Based on the assumption human beings go to spirit world after bodily death and maintain the same personality embodied while living on earth, DP teaches the doctrine of returning resurrection. It explains how human beings living as spirit selves in spirit world “come down to earth” to exert influence over earthly people. During the 1980s and 1990s, two dramatic expressions of returning resurrection occurred in the Unification faith community, seeming to prove the existence of spirit world and spirit being interaction with earthly people (cf. 40 Years in America: An Intimate History of the Unification Movement, pp. 397-401; pp. 550-58).

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Evolution and Unification Thought

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By David Burton

BurtonWhen dealing with issues of science and religion, evolution is probably the most well-known point of contention. The two camps, “Creationist” and “Evolutionist,” are entrenched. Most Unificationists tend to side with the Creationist camp because of its support for theism. Although Unificationists often take a strong stance against evolution, a rejection of evolution is not required by the underlying teaching, and the situation is actually far from clear.

There is a middle ground in the debate between creation and evolution: It does not have to be creation or evolution, but can be both creation and evolution. This is the message of Divine Principle, when it suggests that internal and external truth should develop in full consonance.

If we are to bring about a true unity between science and religion, what is needed is a more inclusive approach, which can be derived from the ontology in Divine Principle and an acceptance of the validity of scientific knowledge. Unification Thought provides fertile ground for exploring the relationship between religion and evolution.

In contrast to the Creationist a priori rejection of evolution, one of the goals of Unificationism is to establish a unity between science and religion. Exposition of the Divine Principle clearly addresses the importance and significance of science. It states “the way of religion and the way of science should be integrated and their problems resolved in one united undertaking; the two aspects of truth, internal and external, should develop in full consonance.”

The text also acknowledges the validity of scientific knowledge, and even goes further in suggesting that religious teaching has changed over time to come closer to science. “Today,” it asserts, “people will not accept what is not demonstrable by the logic of science … Indeed, throughout the long course of history, religions have been moving toward the point when their teachings could be elucidated scientifically.”

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“Concussion”: David and Goliath

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by Kathy Winings

kathy-winings-2I am not a football enthusiast. It’s because I simply do not understand the sport.

This may sound strange since I grew up in Indiana and Hoosiers love football and basketball — especially on the collegiate level. As a young girl, I enjoyed watching basketball because I understood the game. But football was another matter altogether.

As a member of my high school marching band, I had to play at all football home games. Imagine sitting there in the stands cheering our football team to victory yet not having a clue as to what was happening on the field. Tight ends, quarterbacks, safeties, wide receivers, centers, first and down; and what about those numbers that a player is shouting out before everyone goes head to head in the scrimmage. It was all Greek to me. Football just did not make sense to me.

And of course, my brother and father camped out in the living room on weekends rooting for (yelling, more like it) their favorite collegiate or professional football team. Needless to say, I had no clue who was winning or how they could win. My freshman year at Indiana University was much the same. All I learned about football that year was that the late John Pont, the head coach for IU’s team, was one of the top college coaches in America and that the varsity football players received special meals every day and drove around in brand new sports cars.

Though I still don’t understand football, I do know it has captured the attention and loyalty of millions of fans. I also understand there are billions of dollars tied up in the game and thousands of people earn their living from the sport, one way or another, and that football means millions of dollars in revenue for the cities that host a professional team. This does not begin to scratch the surface of the popularity and economics of the Super Bowl, where television advertisers pay millions to promote their product.

I also understand the furor caused by a quiet, unassuming forensic neuropathologist from Nigeria when he discovered what came to be called “chronic traumatic encephalopathy,” or CTE, after conducting autopsies on several former NFL players beginning in 2002.

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The Divine Nexus of Music and Mathematics

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By David Eaton

david_eatonI have this fantasy.

I’d love to see a debate on a liberal arts college campus between members of the sociology department, those who bemoan the heritage of European culture at every turn, and members of the music faculty who revere the music of Bach, Chopin and Wagner.

It would be fascinating to witness the spectacle of the sociology contingent trying to convince the musicians that they have it all wrong regarding the music of their cherished composers.

But do musicians in the academy really have it all wrong regarding Western culture? Are those who argue there may be “immutable truths” that govern music — its creation and realization — completely obtuse to sociological or cultural prejudices as postmodernists would have us believe?

Though we might debate the cosmological and metaphysical aspects of music, a cursory examination of music (regardless of cultural sphere) reveals that the laws and principles that govern music production are rooted in mathematics and physics.

This understanding dates back to Pythagoras in Greece and the Sumerians of Mesopotamia. Nevertheless, we have come to a point in our postmodern culture where any allusion to “certainty,” “universals” or “immutable truths” is, more often than not, met with skepticism, even abject derision.

This mindset originated with Nietzsche, Marx, Stirner, Hegel, and others whose abnegation of religion and “absolutes” infected Western culture at the beginning of the 20th century.

That pernicious legacy persists today.

Paradoxically, those who disparage religion love the music that is the progeny of a decidedly religious culture. Nietzsche, a cultural revolutionary and an earlier admirer of Richard Wagner’s operas, said, “Life without music would be a mistake.”

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The Power of Words

By Hiroshi Nakata

Nakata_IMG_01Human communication is fundamentally mediated by words. Even though there are many different languages in the world, they all utilize words. Although there are numerous studies on communication, less attention has been given to the words that constitute the basic elements of communication. What are words? What is the purpose of words? Do words contain an essence or power intrinsic to themselves? Uttering certain words can affect human relationships for good or bad. Speaking fitting or poorly chosen words can even affect one’s health.

This article investigates the power contained in words. This power can operate in two directions: for good or for bad. If we are aware of this fact, we can change the way we use words. We will use them only for good purposes and apply them with a positive attitude to daily life. Words constitute a big part of the environment of everyday life. According to Unification Thought [UT], human beings stand in a subjective position to nature and all things.

Among the elements of nature, water is fundamental and crucial for life. All plants and animals require water for their existence, and human beings do as well. If our water is polluted, it brings serious problems. In this light, I examine evidence that water is affected by human words. If there is a resonance between water and the words we use, then this would mean that bad words can pollute the human environment no less than toxic waste.

People use words to hurt others. Yet the words we use affect not only the other person, they also affect ourselves. When we use good words when speaking to others, our words foster meaningful human relationships and help to raise humanity. Furthermore, good words nourish health, both spiritually and physically. The contents of words relate to the Three Great Blessings: maturity of individual character, building a good family, and dominion over the natural world.

This article offers useful information for understanding the power of words and their value for building of one’s character, improving communication, and improving the environment. It is particularly important for parents, who are constantly speaking to their children, and educators, who are every day speaking words to their students, to be aware of the power of words.

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Our Information-Rich Universe Points to Intelligent Design

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by Jonathan Wells

Bioinformation SymposiumI commend Jim Stephens for undertaking his “101 Proofs for God” project, and he’s right to target evolutionary theory and mention intelligent design (ID).

As Cornell biologist William Provine said in 1998, “Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism” (quoted in Witham, Where Darwin Meets the Bible, p. 23). Schools teach our children that materialistic Science is the best judge of truth, and Science says that evolution is a fact. By implication, God is certainly unnecessary and probably nonexistent. This attitude dominates academia from kindergarten to the doctoral level.

Of course, evolution can mean many things, some of which are uncontroversial — such as minor changes within existing species. In the 1930s, evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky called such minor changes “microevolution;” he used “macroevolution” to refer to the origin of new species, organs and body plans. According to Charles Darwin’s theory, all living things are descendants of one or a few common ancestors that have been modified by unguided processes such as variations and natural selection. Thus — theoretically — over millions of years microevolution has produced macroevolution (including the origin of human beings) without the need for design or purpose.

But Darwin did not know the mechanism of heredity or the origin of novel variations, so his theory was incomplete. After 1900, Mendelian genetics seemed to remedy the first deficiency, and after 1953, DNA mutations seemed to remedy the second. The resulting Modern Synthesis combined Darwin’s theory with the idea that organismal development is controlled by a genetic program written in DNA sequences, and that DNA mutations can change genetic programs to generate raw materials for evolution. According to molecular biologist Jacques Monod, “with that, and the understanding of the random physical basis of mutation that molecular biology has also provided, the mechanism of Darwinism is at last securely founded. And man has to understand that he is a mere accident” (quoted in Judson, Eighth Day of Creation, p. 217).

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